Patch surveyed influential California partisans after Monday night’s final presidential debate and, like the candidates themselves, they seemed to agree on very little.
As expected, people mostly sided with their own party's candidate. Among Democrats, 11 of the 13 respondents named President Obama as the clear winner. On the Republican side, although only 4 percent said Mitt Romney overwhelmingly won the debate, 10 of the 18 respondents said he won by a slim margin. Of all the respondents surveyed, the answers were split, with both candidates receiving 14 votes each for the debate win.
The Patch surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population, but are an effort to listen to a range of local Republican and Democratic political insiders, activists, leaders and elected officials in California. All the individuals who took part in the survey agreed to answer questions after each presidential debate.
Other points of interest of the survey:
- While Romney’s “binders full women” was the buzz quote of the previous debate, Obama’s “horses and bayonets” comment went viral this time. When Romney said the U.S. Navy is "smaller now than at any time since 1916,” Obama countered, saying:
“You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military's changed."
- Both Democrats and Republicans pointed to that comment as a standout moment. One Democrat wrote that the Democrats will be “energized” following Obama’s comment. But one GOP respondent wrote that Obama’s comment was “ridiculous.”
“CA Conservatives love their military and Obama doesn’t…it’s easy,” the Republican respondent wrote.
- Other key moments for GOP respondents were Romney’s criticisms of Obama’s “apology tour,” his responses on policies in Russia, Iran and Israel -- and his five-point plan for economic recovery.
- Democrats said Romney often did not have a clear, distinguishable stance from Obama, with one writing, “Romney agreed with everything Obama was doing.” One Democrat respondent said a key moment was Obama’s comment that Romney’s foreign policy is from the 1980s, his social policy from the 1950s and his economic policy from the 1920s.
- Both parties agreed the national media would portray Obama as the winner. On the Republican side, 38.9 percent said Obama would be declared the winner by a slim margin, versus 22.8 percent believing Romney would be narrowly declared the winner.
- Republican respondents were divided on whether Romney’s performance would increase the number of votes he wins in California, with 27.8 percent saying they “strongly agree” it would, but 30.3 percent saying they were neutral on the topic.
- 69.2 percent of Democrats said they “strongly agree” Obama’s performance in the final debate would positively affect the number of California votes he receives.
Patch will be conducting Red California and Blue California surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of Republicans and Democrats on the ground in California. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Sandra Oshiro.